A great way to form a deep connection with children is to encourage them to share something special about themselves. Near the beginning of your time with a child (at the beginning of the school year, or in one of their early therapy sessions), give the child a bag. It can just be a simple brown paper bag, and you can add a tag (printable available here).
Tell the child that you’d like to get to know him better. Ask him to take the bag home and fill it up with something special from his house. Let him know that if the special thing doesn’t fit in a bag, he can bring a picture of the item.
When he brings in his special item, ask him to explain why he chose it. You can ask questions such as:
Where did you get this special item?
Who gave this to you?
What do you think about when you look at your special item?
Be sure to thank the child for sharing his item with you. Let him know that you’re happy you’ve been given the chance to learn more about him by hearing about his special item.
This activity is a great way to connect with kids. You can learn valuable information about a child from hearing what is important to him. And now you have one special thing that you know about the child, which helps him feel safe and connected to you. Kids, just like adults, love feeling that they are valued and important, and this activity is a way to honor that.